The Capitol may be a newish kid on the block, opening last November, but it's got an old soul, harking back to the days of the supper clubs of the '30s and '40s, where you could dine, socialize, and enjoy a cocktail and a live show at the same time.
This week, I paid my first visit, grabbed a spot at one of the two bars, ordered a St. Tropez (vodka, St. Germain, lemon juice, soda) and got to talking with Crisia. She told me a little bit about the building -- it's over 100 years old and formerly a five-and-dime -- and about some of the odd beverage requests she's received from patrons. She doesn't mind, though, she just wants to make a cocktail you'll love so you can relax and soak in The Capitol's vintage charm.
Where are you from? I'm originally from Phoenix, but I was raised here. I've been in Houston for 20 years.
How would you describe the bar's aesthetic? I think that when people go barhopping, they're looking for a certain atmosphere. It doesn't matter what you dress like but how you feel when you're there. This is one of those places where anyone can come in and feel like they've stepped into a different time, like getting away from reality.
How would you describe the crowd? We get a lot of business people, people that work in the vicinity. At 5 o'clock, they come in, loosen their ties, have a cocktail and relax. Sometimes people want something other than a sports bar. They want a place that's laid-back but classy, where they fit in with the environment. We're a pretty big date spot, but we also have a lot of functions here -- weddings, corporate events and parties.
Fill in the blank: To work at The Capitol, you have to be able to ______. Have fun while you work. It's the easiest way to make the day go by fast. If you're not enjoying yourself, it's not worth it.
At the end of my shift, I pour a ______. A Fat Tire.
Do you have a specialty or a drink you pride yourself on? I've had a lot of people come in for my martinis. My favorite is the Chopin and blue cheese-stuffed olive martini.
Do you have a favorite menu item? We have a double bone pork chop with pear chutney and vegetables. It's delicious.
You get three songs on the proverbial jukebox. What do you play? Adele -- "Set Fire to the Rain," Michael Bublé -- "Feeling Good" and Ira Perez -- "Wait." She plays it when she plays here, and it sounds amazing.
What are your favorite local spots to get a drink or something to eat? I like Sushi Tora on Studemont, and Brasserie 19 on West Gray. They have a great wine list. And bars...I like Marfreless. It's a really neat little place.
*Wildcard: Rap music makes me want to ______. Drop it like it's hot...it reminds me of that commercial.
The Capitol at St. Germain is located downtown at 702 Main, with the entrance on Capitol. They're open daily for lunch and dinner and closed on Sundays. Happy hour is Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and features $6 shared bites like pork tacos, bison bites and veggie pizza as well as $6 cocktails and wines by the glass. On Thursdays, swing by for $3 select martinis. They have live music Monday through Saturday, so visit the Web site for more info and specials and follow them @capitolhouston
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